CUL DE SAC–St. Maarten Academy students performed well in the May/June Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations and the school’s mathematics average tops regional averages as well as those of other Caribbean islands.
All of the 83 candidates who sat the regional examinations offered by the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) secured what Academy refers to as “school passes,” while 98 per cent achieved “college passes,” a six per cent increase over the previous year.
Among the top performers were Chetan Laungani and Naomi Jankee, both of whom secured passes in 13 subjects, and Habeebullaah Mohammed, Zacquel Phipps, Vishwadeo Persaud, Tania Narine, and Sydney Williams, all of whom passed 12 subjects. Ryana Anthony and Chadalina Edwards also successfully passed all 11 subjects at one sitting.
Laungani, who wrote 13 subjects, attained Grade I passes in 11 CSEC subjects, seven with straight ‘A’ profiles. He secured these top passes in Additional Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Electronic Document Preparation and Management, English A, Human and Social Biology, Information Technology, Mathematics, Physics, Social Studies, and Spanish. He earned an A in Cambridge Dutch, and a Grade II in Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) Communication Studies.
Jankee, who also wrote 13 subjects, secured nine CSEC Grade I passes, one Grade II pass, one Grade III pass, a Grade I in CAPE Communication Studies, and a B in Cambridge Dutch. She obtained Grade I passes in Biology, Chemistry, English A, Human and Social Biology, Information Technology, Mathematics, Physical Education and Sport, Physics and Social Studies, a Grade II in Spanish, and a Grade III in Visual Arts.
Mohammed, who wrote 12 subjects, secured nine Grade I passes, and one Grade II pass at CSEC, a Grade II in CAPE Communication Studies, and an A in Dutch. His Grade I passes were in Additional Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Human and Social Biology, Information Technology, Mathematics, Physics, Social Studies and Spanish. He copped a Grade II in English A, an A in Cambridge Dutch and Grade II in CAPE Communication Studies.
Phipps wrote 12 subjects and secured seven Grade I passes and three Grade II passes at CSEC, an A in Dutch and Grade II in CAPE Communication Studies. His Grade I passes include English A, French, Information Technology, Mathematics, Physics, Social Studies and Theatre Arts, which he pursued under the instruction of Arlene Halley of National Institute of the Arts (NIA). He earned Grade II passes in Biology, Chemistry and Human and Social Biology.
Persaud secured six Grade I passes and four Grade II passes for a total of 10 CSEC subjects. His Grade I passes were in English A, Human and Social Biology, Information Technology, Mathematics, Physics, and Spanish. He earned Grade II passes in English B (Literature), Biology, Chemistry and Social Studies. He obtained a Grade III in Communication Studies and a B in Dutch.
Narine, who wrote 11 CSEC subjects, obtained five Grade I passes in English A, English B, Mathematics, Information Technology, and Physics; Grade II passes in Biology, Social Studies, Spanish, and Human and Social Biology, a Grade III in Chemistry, and C in Dutch. Noteworthy was her performance in Communication Studies. Narine, one of 13 Form 5 students to sit this examination along with the Year 1 CAPE students, topped the school’s merit list in the subject.
Anthony secured four of her five Grade 1 passes with straight A profiles in Electronic Document Preparation and Management, English A, Information Technology, and Principles of Business. Her fifth Grade 1 was in Human and Social Biology, while her four Grade 2 passes were in Integrated Science, Mathematics, Social Studies and Spanish. Anthony, a business major, rounded off her 10 CSEC subjects with a Grade 3 pass in Principles of Accounts. She also earned a B Grade for Cambridge Dutch.
Edwards wrote 10 subjects at CSEC and secured five Grade ones in Human and Social Biology, Information Technology, Principles of Accounts, Principles of Business, and Social Studies. Her Grade 2 passes were obtained in Electronic Document Preparation and Management, English A, Integrated Science, Mathematics, and Spanish. Her Dutch grade is a C.
Williams secured CSEC Grade I passes in English A, Mathematics, Human and Social Biology, and Physical Education and Sports. He obtained Grade II passes in Information Technology, Spanish, Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Social Studies, a C in Dutch and Grade III in Communication Studies.
Of the 23 subjects St. Maarten Academy offers at the CSEC level, all students must write at least eight compulsory subjects, as well as the Cambridge Dutch. For the first time this year, Physical Education and Electronic Document Preparation and Management were offered by the school, and both subjects attained 100 per cent passes. Other subjects with 100 per cent passes were Additional Mathematics, Caribbean History, English B (Literature), Human and Social Biology, Principles of Business, and Theatre Arts.
Among the top performing departments offering compulsory subjects to all candidates were Mathematics, which continues to attain passes above the regional average, and Information Technology. Both subjects secured 100 per cent passes. The Department of Mathematics, headed by Alberick Arrendell, secured 31 Grade 1 passes, 26 Grade two passes, 20 Grade 3 passes, and only six Grade 4 passes.
This means that 69 per cent of the students who wrote Mathematics earned Grades 1 and 2, and a total of 93 per cent passed with Grades 1 to 3, well above the regional pass rate of 48 per cent. Arrendell’s department also secured a 100-per-cent pass rate in Additional Mathematics, taught by Olatunde Dalrymple. A comparison can be drawn with countries such as Grenada (39 per cent), Guyana (43 per cent), and Jamaica (50 per cent), where students continue to struggle in Mathematics.
The Department of Information Technology, under the leadership of Julian Mason, also secured a 100 per cent pass rate with 19 Grade ones and 48 Grade twos (81 per cent), as well as 15 Grade threes. Only one student received a Grade 4.
Other subject areas that produced outstanding results include Social Studies (100 per cent school passes and 99 per cent college passes), English A (100 per cent school passes and 97 per cent college passes), Physics (100 per cent school passes and 95 per cent college passes), Biology (100 per cent school passes and 91 per cent college passes), Economics (100 per cent school passes and 89 per cent college passes), Chemistry (100 per cent school passes and 87 per cent college passes), and Visual Arts (100 per cent school passes and 80 per cent college passes).
Students scoring Grades I-III in five subjects are deemed to have met the matriculation requirements into most colleges and universities in the Caribbean and farther afield. Grade I at the regional CXC examination is the highest accolade.
There were 738 subject entries in 2018, comprising 83 fifth-formers and 3 fourth-formers. A total of 133 (18 per cent) Grade I passes were recorded, a one per cent increase from 2017; 291 Grade II (40 per cent), a nine per cent increase from last year; 211 (29 per cent) Grade III, a decline of five per cent; and 77 (11 per cent) Grade IV passes, down four per cent from last year.
Academy said in a press release that “the phenomenal” performance recorded in the May/June 2018 CSEC examinations was the end-result of the concerted effort of students, support of parents and hardworking, self-sacrificing teachers, who remained focused and dedicated to their craft despite devastating personal losses caused by Hurricane Irma.
Principal Tallulah Baly-Vanterpool told teachers at the presentation of results last Friday: “We have some of the most dedicated teachers. Some built bridges, and took a ladder to cross over and climb higher to meet their goals.”
She lauded the radical teachers who sneaked onto the academic campus, currently under construction, to meet with students before school. With the shift system and school starting at 12:30pm since January, many teachers at Academy sought ways to meet their students before school started, to complete their syllabus. Others held classes on weekends.
“Their resilience and commitment under the most arduous circumstances played as significant a role to their students’ success as did their knowledge and presentation of content,” said Baly-Vanterpool.
As espoused by the school’s motto, St. Maarten Academy seeks to provide students with opportunities to not only learn, but also to excel and achieve.
It was against this backdrop that head of the English Department Doreen Edwards spearheaded an initiative that allowed 13 of the candidates who had secured Grade I passes in English A while in the pre-examination class to pursue CAPE Communication Studies in May/June, while simultaneously writing their CSEC examinations. Not only were all 13 candidates successful, but six of them also managed to rank on the school’s merit list in the subject area.
The Foundation for Academic and Vocational Education (FAVE) board, under which the school falls, congratulated students, their parents, teachers and the management team for proving in a year rife with setbacks that with resilience, laser-focus and commitment there is always a comeback.